The partnerships for Strictly Come Dancing 2022 have been reviled.
The reality competition series returned to our screens on Friday (23 September) night, with a launch show in which the celebrity contestants learnt which professional dancers they would be coupled up with.
The celebrities also performed together in a group number.
The first Strictly live show will take place on Saturday (24 September), with all 15 couples hitting the dance floor for their first routines.
Meet your Strictly Come Dancing couples below…
Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzmin
Paralympic medallist Ellie Simmonds will be dancing with Nikita Kuzmin. You can find out more about her here.
Kuzman made his Strictly debut in 2021, when he was partnered with Tilly Ramsay.
Asked by Tess Daley what it meant to represent people with dwarfism on Strictly, Simmonds said: “It means everything, to represent not just dwarfism but disability in general, for me to go out of my comfort zone and do something that I’ve never done before.
“Dancing is for all, yes, I’m going to have to adapt, I’m going to have to see what it’s like, but to be out there every Saturday night dancing… I’m so so proud.”
Tyler West and Dianne Buswell
Tyler West began his career presenting on CBBC before moving to Kiss FM, where he presents on weekday afternoons. You can find out more about him here.
Dianne Buswell, his partner, is an Australian dancer who joined the show in 2018. She reached the final with Joe Sugg in 2018, but was forced to withdraw from the competition early last year due to her partner Robert Webb’s health.
“I don’t actually think she’s come here tonight to see me – she’s come to see her!” he joked.
Kym Marsh and Graziano Di Prima
Coronation Street star and Morning Live presenter Kym Marsh first rose to fame as a member of Hear’Say. You can find out more about her here.
Graziano Di Prima has competed on Strictly twice since joining the show in 2018.
Thrilled with her professional partner, Marsh admitted: “My stomach was churning, but I was delighted!”
Will Mellor and Nancy Xu
Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps actor Will Mellor will be competing with Nancy Xu. You can find out more about Mellow here.
Xu competed for the glitterball trophy for the first time last year, when she was partnered with Rhys Stephenson. They were eliminated in the semi-final.
Mellor said that he felt he and Xu were already a perfect pair, joking: “We match well… I’m like an excitable puppy and so’s she.”
Helen Skelton and Gorka Marquez
Former Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton will be competing on Strictly 2022 with Gorka Marquez. You can find out more about Skelton here.
Spanish dancer Marquez has competed on the show since 2016, reaching the final twice in 2017 and 2020 with Alexandra Burke and Maisie Smith respectively.
Explaining what she was looking for in a partner, Skelton said that they “need to be fun, patient, they probably need to be good with dogs and kids and understand a Northern accent”.
James Bye and Amy Dowden
EastEnders star James Bye has played Martin Fowler on the BBC soap since 2014. You can find out more about him here.
He will be dancing with Welsh pro Amy Dowden, who reached the final in 2019 with Karim Zeroual.
Bye admitted that, having no dance experience, “coming into the unknown is what’s scary” about Strictly.
However, after being paired with Dowden, he said: “I’m so relieved and I couldn’t be happier, I feel like the winner already!”
Fleur East and Vito Coppola
Predicted to be one of the frontrunners in the new series, “Sax” singer Fleur East is best known for reaching the final of The X Factor in 2014. You can find out more about her here.
She is competing on the show with Italian dancer Vito Coppola, who is one of the new pros joining the cast of Strictly in 2022.
Asked how he was going to be with teaching East, Coppola said that “behind this smile I’m very tough but I’m sure that she’s going to be alright because she’s a hard worker too”.
Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal
Born in Sudan but raised in Scotland, wildlife presenter Hamza Yassin is best known for his work across the BBC’s wildlife programming. You can find out more about him here.
Polish pro Jowita Przystal joined Strictly last year, but this is her first proper series with a celebrity partner. She did, however, compete in the 2021 Christmas special with Adrian Chiles.
Speaking about Yassin, Przystal said: “He is just fearless, I can see that, which is very helpful for me. He’s strong and he’s also patient, that’s really important. I just cannot wait to go and start rehearsals.”
Matt Goss and Nadiya Bychkova
Bros singer Matt Goss is no stranger to the Strictly dance floor, having competed on the Christmas special in 2013. You can find out more about him here.
His partner, Nadiya Bychkova, has competed on Strictly since 2017.
Claiming that he was up for being “strictyfied”, AKA “rolled in sequins and glitter”, Goss told Bychkova: “I’m ready to put my heart and soul into this.”
Ellie Taylor and Johannes Radebe
Comedian and actor Ellie Taylor is best known for her work on panel shows including The Mash Report and her recent role on Ted Lasso. You can find out more about her here.
Radebe will be hoping to repeat the success of the last series of Strictly, after he reached the final with The Great British Bake Off star John Whaite.
Asked about which partner she’d secretly been hoping for, Taylor said: “It was Johannes, Johannes or Johannes.”
Radebe said: “I’m really chuffed to be partnered with Ellie, meeting her has been joyous and to see her excited about the season ahead makes me excited!”
Molly Rainford and Carlos Gu
Molly Rainford is an actor and singer, best known for playing the titular role in CBBC sci-fi series Nova Jones. You can find out more about her here.
She will be coupled up with new professional dancer Carlos Gu.
Rainford joked that while her family would be thrilled by the partnership, her dad’s loyalties may lie with another contestant.
“Obviously he’s going to have to vote for me but if it was his choice, he’s a football fan, Tony Adams might get his vote,” she said.
Richie Anderson and Giovanni Pernice
Presenter Richie Anderson is best known to Radio 2 listeners as the voice of weekday travel. You can find out more about him here.
Reigning Strictly champion Giovanni Pernice will be showing him the ropes, having won the show in 2021 with Rose Ayling-Ellis.
“Could you get anyone better than Mr Giovanni? I feel like I’m the envy of the British public right now.” Anderson said of his partnership.
“He’s got a lot of energy, I’m very very happy,” Pernice echoed.
Jayde Adams and Karen Hauer
Jayde Adams is a stand-up comedian, best known for Alma’s Not Normal and her live special Serious Black Jumper. You can find out more about her here.
Adams will be dancing in the series’ second same-sex partnership with Karen Hauer. Hauer has competed on Strictly since series 10 in 2012, reaching the final once with Mark Wright.
Delighted with her pairing, Adams said: “Karen is Strictly.”
Hauer, meanwhile, said: “I’m absolutely excited, I have so many ideas, too many ideas, this is going to be a golden moment for me.”
Tony Adams and Katya Jones
Former footballer Tony Adams spent the 19 years of his playing career at Arsenal before managing teams such as Portsmouth and Wycombe Wanderers. You can find out more about him here.
His partner, Katya Jones, has appeared on Strictly for six series and competed in the show’s first same-sex couple with Nicola Adams.
Jones told Adams: “We’re going to tackle some dancing, we’re a team now, we’ll work together.”
Kaye Adams and Kai Widdrington
The last of three Adams in the competition, Kaye is a TV presenter and regular panellist on Loose Women. You can find out more about her here.
Her partner Kai Widdrington reached the Strictly final in 2021, his first year on the show, with AJ Odudu
Excited by her professional partner, Adams said: “Can I just say to Mrs Widdrington, you have done an amazing job with this guy. He’s such a lovely man, he really is. I’m so happy to be with Kai.”
Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday 24 September at 6.45pm on BBC One.